by Shakila Rajendra

How does the crazy cat lady thrive in the solitude of this Covid-19 lockdown? Here are the best of ideas from someone who has spent the last 44 days pretty much alone (albeit I have 2 fat cats with even fatter personalities), to keep us all from deteriorating into a pool of madness:

Tip #1 – Start your day the same – everyday!

There is no better way to get you out of that bed than to have a routine. My morning flurry of activity begins with the glamourous task of clearing poop (not my own obviously!), feeding hungry meowing mouths and cleaning up the overnight mess by my furry companions.

Tip #2 Kon-Mari your home!

Time to harness that inner Marie Kondo or Obsessive Compulsive (Cleaning) Disorder. There is truth to the saying that an orderly house equals an orderly mind. Sort out that wardrobe or, like me, start scrubbing the tops of your cupboards. Also, it’s great exercise!

Tip #3 – Make your Mama proud

Get inspired, get creative… in the kitchen. You may be cooking for just you, but hey, this will mean you get to eat good food for days afterwards. Besides, there’s a sense of purpose and achievement when you make yourself useful (even if it is just to you).

Tip #4 – Be generous

It is so easy to fall into a hole of self-pity when you spend so much time alone with your thoughts. If you have a fully-stocked kitchen, a functioning internet and some means of income, you are already in a position good enough to help others less lucky. Got a skill like sewing? How about helping to produce much needed PPE. Got a vehicle? You could deliver food and supplies to frontliners, underprivileged groups or even the elderly. Or put to good use some of that newfound Jamie Oliver skills to make food for your neighbours. Even feed stray animals. Go ahead and donate that Sunday brunch money you’re no longer spending to a good cause.

Tip #5 – Hustle hard but work smart

If you are struggling with staying motivated to WFH, stick to these two rules. Rule No.1: Do NOT work from your bed or couch (or any area you usually rest in). Instead, set your mind and workspace in an area you feel productive. Rule No.2: Stick to the normal work day hours (as best as you can). That means getting up as usual for work, shutting off the computer over lunch as you would normally do (that overzealous boss can wait).

Tip #6 – ‘Hang out’ with your squad

Time you set aside to hang with your besties should still be time set aside to hang with your besties. Download multi-player games, organise viewing parties of your favourite films or TV shows with your girlfriends, even have TikTok dance-offs! My group of fellow boyband fans are doing the #30daysongchallenge – it’s been a riot reminiscing the songs we grew up with from the nineties and noughties. Then there are the recipes you could share among a group of friends. Show off your individual attempts at a dish! (my group of ex-schoolmates are attempting a Penang street food dish called Char Koay Kak this week)

Tip #7 – Growing Plants

No pets? How about acquiring some plants? There is something calming about watering ferns in the morning or watching your new herb garden grow. Having daily interactions with other forms of life in your home gives you a sense of perspective while you navigate these challenging times.

Tip #8 – Be good to yourself

If after all the above you still feel the weight of endless days on your shoulders, simply be kind to yourself. Binge-watch a Korean drama or RuPaul’s Drag Race (then use it as inspiration for putting on makeup just for fun or for your next grocery run!). Don’t beat yourself up for feeling down or lazy. It’s ok to have a time-out.

Take time to laugh and to move.

Stay home. Stay healthy (mind, body and soul).

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